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Trans people on new Transgender law – The House of Representatives will debate the new Transgender Act on Tuesday and Wednesday. This should make it easier to change the legal gender from M to V or vice versa. Whether the adjustment will pass is still uncertain. But the law can prevent many painful situations, experts said.

Now transgender people still have to get an expert opinion before they can change the registration of their gender. That can be a tough process, knows the 26-year-old Hidde Vochteloo.

Four years ago he found out that he did not feel comfortable in his body. He therefore registered at the gender clinic of the UMC Groningen, one of the places where people can go for a legal and/or medical transition.

Vochteloo had to wait a year for his intake interview. “That was a hellish time,” he looks back. “Because my gender and name hadn’t been changed yet, people were constantly mispronouncing me.”

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“I had to prove time and time again that I was ‘trans enough’.”

Hidde Vochteloo

Trans people on new Transgender law

According to Transgender Netwerk Nederland (TNN), trans people with the wrong letter on their papers have to deal with difficulties on a daily basis. This happens, for example, in the hospital, when picking up a package or at the border.

In addition, Vochteloo had a lot of stress due to the “patronizing” conversations that were coming up. “I had done extensive research and knew what I wanted and needed. Yet I had to tell my story again and again to prove that I was ‘trans enough’.”

This changes in the new law

  • Changing the legal gender no longer requires an expert’s statement. However, there is a mandatory cooling-off period of four weeks.
  • It will also be possible for young people up to the age of sixteen to change their legal gender. That has to go through the courts.
  • After the change in the law, people no longer have to go to the municipality of birth for a change, but to the municipality where they live.

Painful questions that are not asked of anyone else

Nineteen-year-old Sharmila Vooren (right on photo) also has an expert statement in his pocket. With her, it took four years to get a V in her documents.

“During that process, painful questions come along that are not asked to anyone else,” she looks back. “I was even forced to fill out a questionnaire about personality disorders.”

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A friend of Vooren’s was asked at the time she wanted to sign her expert statement if she wanted to have children later. “She was eighteen and had never thought about it. But to get the explanation, she had no choice.”

There are also faster ways to apply for an expert statement, for example through a conversation with a government-appointed psychologist or doctor. But such a conversation is not reimbursed by the health insurance. “I, and many other transgender people with me, cannot pay hundreds of euros per conversation out of my own pocket,” says Vooren.

Interest groups have been calling for the expert statement to be abolished for years. According to them, the current transgender law violates the right to self-determination. “No one who wants to be themselves needs to be judged by an expert,” says Brand Berghouwer, chairman of TNN. “But that does apply to trans people, while they can really decide for themselves.”

Trans people on new Transgender law

Uncertain whether law will be passed

Whether the law will pass the House is still uncertain. From the coalition parties, only D66 has stated that it is in favour. VVD and CDA have yet to determine their position and the ChristenUnie is against.

From a small but loud group there is criticism of what they call the ‘self-identification law’. Malevolent men who are not trans could call themselves women to access women’s facilities, such as locker rooms at the gym. Because they have a V in their passport, nothing could be said about it.

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“Nonsense”, Berghouwer sighs. “When was the last time you had to identify yourself at a dressing room or public toilet? Anyone who harasses people can be denied access.”

“Wouldn’t it be much easier if we started from the ability of people?”

Vochteloo

In countries such as Norway, Ireland, Malta and Argentina, the expert’s statement has already been deleted as a requirement for changing the gender indication. The Ministry of Justice and Security investigated possible abuse in those countries. Not a single example was found.

Trans people on new Transgender law

According to the UN human rights rapporteur, the position is therefore based on discriminatory stereotypes about transgender people. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights underlines this and recommends the adoption of the amended Transgender Act.

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Vochteloo and Vooren both hope that other transgender people will soon no longer have to go through the same process. Vochteloo: “Wouldn’t it be much easier if we started from the competence of people?”

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REACTIONS on Trans people on new Transgender law

Sandicjk

10 hours ago

I can well imagine that it is a difficult one for a transgender person, but I still think that care is also very important. In addition, I think that changing a letter (what this law is about) will not make much difference in being held wrong. Especially when the person in question is still in the middle of the transition. Then there will be people who are addressing you wrong. However, the majority do so unconsciously and, no matter how annoying, you will have to accept that as a trans person. Especially when it comes to someone you don’t know personally.

AngelaS

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6 hours ago

Many comments here show that there is still much to do in terms of acceptance and understanding. I read a lot of misunderstanding. And a lot of “I’m fine with it, but” reactions. What kind of trouble do you have exactly if someone changes the print in their passport to M V or X ?? Exactly, that doesn’t bother you. But for people who are trans, it’s worth a lot. I sincerely hope that the law will pass.

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